In this age of football as turbo-capitalist entertainment industry, it’s reassuring to know that a club’s identity can endure. Results, seasons, owners and hopelessly lazy playmakers will come and go, but there’s something in the brickwork of those grand old institutions that outlasts all the noise.
Think about the West Ham Way, Liverpool’s Boot Room culture, or the concept of Spursiness. All proof that the here and now is ephemeral, but culture lasts.
At which point enter Arsenal. They may be in transition. The glory days might be fading in the memory. But you can’t take their identity away from them. They will always be willing to lowball the hell out of a summer transfer saga.
Luis Suarez: £40,000,001. That, ladies and gentlemen, is absolute class. Forget that Bergkamp goal and the Invincibles; that middle finger of an offer was the best thing that happened in the Wenger era.
Now those glorious Gunners are at it again, with a bid for Wilfried Zaha that is so far below market value that it may as well be Monopoly money. They didn’t even add the extra pound this time. It’s £40million, take it or leave it.
Zaha scores his first goal of tournament for Ivory Coast
Probably leave it, to be honest. Palace, after all, value the forward at closer to £100million. That might be a little steep, but you can see where they’re coming from: Chelsea just bought Mateo Kovacic for £40million, and he spent most of last season standing vaguely near Eden Hazard and hoping their physical likeness won him a few fans.
Do Arsenal even want Zaha? Or is this just a bare-faced attempt to channel some of that old rogue magic? More on this as we get it, but the signs look pretty positive to The Warm-Up.
The kids are alright
Good news abounds at Manchester United – and not just because Marcus Rashford signed a new long-term contract yesterday. There was also the heartening sight of a bunch of gawky, no-name teenagers joining the first-team squad for pre-season training, which no doubt jogged a few memories.
The Warm-Up is certain that raging nostalgist Ole Gunnar Solskjaer, for one, won’t have let this opportunity pass him by.
“What’s your name, son?”
“You go by Ryan now.”
“And you, son?”
“Gary it is. Next!”
Arsenal finally released that amusing Ian-Wright-fronted video that you saw last week, but they weren’t the only major club to unveil their kits for the new season yesterday.
Man City opted for contrast, pairing an absolutely rubbish home kit (Burnley away cast-off, anyone?) with a lovely away jersey:
Burnley themselves get a big thumbs up for this love letter to simplicity:
And Paris Saint-Germain’s new one is also quite nice, apart from the sponsor (God knows what an ACCOR LIVE LIMITLESS is, but The Warm-Up certainly isn’t Googling it).
Bit awkward that Neymar features so heavily in this video, mind…
IN OTHER NEWS
The new football season is on the horizon and it will probably be OK, all things considered. But what The Warm-Up is really looking forward to – apart from uncle Stan’s birthday – is the MLS All-Star Game week at the end of this month. And this is only partially a joke.
There are two reasons for this. The first is the existence of these jerseys. Are these in fact directly related to the All-Star Game? That isn’t clear. But they accompanied a Twitter post about it, and heart-stopping beauty trumps relevance.
The second is that the MLS have just announced that, as well as the All-Star Game itself – against Atletico Madrid, no less – there will be an amuse-bouche a couple of days before.
Take it away, dream-weavers: “The MLS Skills Challenge will take place at ESPN Wide World of Sports Complex at Walt Disney World Resort. The 90-minute event will feature three teams comprised of three players each – one team representing the MLS All-Stars, one team representing host Orlando City SC, and one team representing All-Star opponent Atletico Madrid – competing across three skills that are authentically rooted in the sport: Shooting, Passing, and Touch and Volley.”
The Warm-Up is going to be authentically rooted to the sofa for this slice of weirdness. But we can’t help thinking that the MLS are missing a trick by not adding a thrilling fourth discipline: bare-knuckle cage fighting. We don’t have an exact figure for the amount of money we’d be willing to pay to watch Zlatan Ibrahimovic and Diego Costa brawling away, but safe to say it’d be somewhere in the region of ‘absolutely loads’.
It’s Argentina vs Brazil in the Copa America this evening, so we delve into the archives for a classic World Cup clash from this day in 1982. This one had a bit of everything: long-range howitzers, stunning floaty crosses to the far post, drop-dead-gorgeous through balls (hi Zico!) and a consolation goal that deserved to be so much more.
Oh, and Diego Maradona getting sent off for kicking someone in the tummy. Make mine a double, please.
Also on this day: the best match of the 2010 World Cup. Sulley Muntari (!) scoring from downtown thanks to Dr Jabulani, Diego Forlan being the absolute man, and Luis Suarez going full dark side: yep, that’ll do.
IN THE CHANNELS
Bloody footballers, earning loads of money. It’s sick how much they earn, it really is. Sick and wrong. What about nurses, for heaven’s sake? And they’re always doing stuff like buying houses for their mums and going to supermarkets. Scum. Do they think they’re better than us? Seems like that sometimes. Bet they’d dance on my grave if they knew where it was and I was dead.
OH AND NOW THIS. This is the last straw. I’m getting into rugby.
It’s coming home, it’s coming home, it’s coming! Football’s coming home! That’s right, folks, it’s England playing in the World Cup semi-final for the second time in a year (who’d have thunk it?), with the USA standing in the Lionesses’ way in Lyon. Glory awaits.
If you’ve still got energy and fingernails left after that one, you could also try staying up for that Copa America grudge match The Warm-Up mentioned earlier. That one starts at 1.30am, but is surely – surely – worth you being 30% less effective at work tomorrow.
Ben Snowball will be among the 30% gang as he delivers an ode to more England semi-final heartbreak in tomorrow's Warm-Up